Tag Archives: Abba

Daddy (Dad, Part II)

God is our Father. Jesus said so.  He taught us to address Him in prayer as “Our Father.”  He modeled that relationship, almost always calling God His Father.  Except once.  One time, as it is recorded in the Gospels, Jesus called God by a different Name.  He called Him “Daddy” (literally, the Aramaic, “Abba”).  The one time He switched from “Father” to “Daddy” was in His time of deepest struggle and need, in Gethsemane, on the night before His arrest and crucifixion.  

 And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  –  (Mark 14:36)
There is a lesson here.  In our own times of deep distress, even in those times when you feel God would not be inclined to draw near and listen, remember Who He is.  Not only your Father but also your Daddy. Let your lowest moments of struggle become your deepest moments of childlike intimacy.  Imitate Jesus in how He honestly cried out to “Daddy,” saying, in effect, “I really don’t want to do this; isn’t there some other way?”  And also, “I know you are my Daddy and would not assign anything to me that was not the best.”

Who’s your Daddy?

Slathered with Love

When I think about the word “lavish” the first thing that comes to

English: Cinnamon roll as produced by cinnabon

English: Cinnamon roll as produced by cinnabon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

mind is Cinnabon.    I know, I know, you’ve never actually eaten one of these – just looked at them as you went by…  Right.  But if you work for Cinnabon, you need to know how to lavish.  You need to lay on the cinnamon and butter and icing without any restraint!  That’s my point.

Think about what “lavish” means as you read this next line from 1 John:

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)

God lavished His love on us by bringing us into His family as His loved children.  Perhaps your experience with your dad was not ideal.  God’s version of fatherhood is perfect.  So much so, He encourages us to come to Him whenever we are in need, without formality or hesitancy (Hebrews 4:16).  He told us to call Him “Papa” (Abba, in Hebrew – Romans 8:15).  Most people, if they accept the idea of being a child of God at all, think of the relationship portrayed in the von Trapp family in the beginning of “Sound of Music,” with the kids all in uniform, standing at attention and responding to signals from a captain’s whistle.  God’s version is a lot more like the family interacts at the end of that musical.

John says “the world does not know us” and that is true.  Believers and followers of Jesus are commonly misunderstood and criticized.  They don’t get it because they are not (yet!) in the family. When the family gets together things go on that those in the world have never experienced.  I remember my childhood family, the kids lying around on the floor in front of a crackling fire, with my dad sitting in his favorite chair, reading a story.  Things happen in God’s family that are much, much better.

Such as Papa’s love, lavished on His children…

No Doubt

I was halfway out to my car at the end of a long day.  I thought, “Did I lock the workshop?  Better go back and check.”  I knew it was locked, but I couldn’t get past the feeling of doubt that was seeping into my mind.  I went back and shook the door; it was locked (of course…).  Turned around and went back to the car.  But something inside my head was going, “Are you sure?  Maybe it just seemed locked…”  Did you ever find yourself doubting something you knew was true?  It’s okay; you don’t have to raise your hand.  I think most of us have had moments of doubt like that.

John was a man who had walked with Jesus, saw Him die, and who spoke with Him after his resurrection.  Now, perhaps as much as 40 years later, with the wisdom and perspective that only come to the elderly, he observes some troubling changes in the body of believers.  He could have scolded them, tried to lay down the law.  But John knew that if he could solidify some of the basic truths in their hearts, help them turn away from doubting things they knew to be true, that the Holy Spirit would keep them on track.  So he writes a kind of song to the believers – to the ones newest in the faith, to those who are in their most robust years of living out their faith, and to those who have grown old in the faith.

To the newest believers, he writes:

I write to you, dear children,

because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. (1 John 2:12)

When someone says, “I forgive you,” even though it is a relief, we more or less assume that they haven’t done so completely, or that if we did the same bad thing again they would “unforgive” us.  That’s why it is so hard for new believers to truly understand that God’s forgiveness doesn’t work that way.  When God forgives our sins, they have been forgiven, all of them.  It’s over!  John knows that doubting that can undermine our understanding and experience of everything else about our life in Jesus.  John knows Satan knows that, too, and loves to tempt us to doubt.  So he nails it down for the children in the faith.  You are forgiven.

A bit later, he addresses the newest Christians again:

I write to you, dear children,

because you have known the Father.  (1 John 2:13c)

John knows how essential it is for us to understand that God – Almighty God, Creator of the Universe –  is our Father.  Jesus taught us by His example to approach God as our “Abba,” our Papa, particularly in times of great distress (Mark 14:36).

John “sings” to the new believer, reminding him (or her) that God, Who is their loving Father, has completely and irrevocably forgiven them all their sins.  He has not done so capriciously, but rather has accepted full payment on their behalf in the blood of His Son, Jesus.  “…your sins have been forgiven on account of His Name.”  

Maybe you have had some doubts about those basic truths.  Let John’s “song” sing to you.